by Jose M. Alonso, World Wide Web Foundation Blog, May 24, 2012The Web Foundation is happy to share a report on the outcomes of a recent meeting of Open Government Data practitioners that took place in Brasilia on April 26th of this year. Given the increasing interest in Open Data programs around the globe, and the expectations of their implementation, the need for a critical measurement of outcomes and empirical evidence to support such measurement has become ever more important. The Web Foundation has recently begun this work by partnering with the International Development Research Center and the Berkman Center at Harvard University to host the first convening of Open Data Research (South), a gathering of 20 renowned policy-oriented academics from around the globe and representing diverse areas of expertise to develop a research agenda and network to facilitate impact measurement of Open Government Data in the Global South and developing world.Attendees worked to develop a research agenda to ensure that Open Government Data programs in the Global South meet several key outcomes, namely: that they foster greater openness, support citizens’ rights, and remain inclusive of the citizenry. Key issues of exploration included Open Data’s potential to challenge democratic deficits, create economic value and foster greater inclusion, particularly in the developing world. Full details of each day’s agenda and outcomes can be found in the full report. This is part of an ongoing process; a blog to take forward ideas from the workshop has been also opened.
For a copy of this report, visit Measuring Open Government Data.
URISA Data Policy & Amicus Brief Decision Statement E-mail
Written by URISA, 28 February 2012
February 27, 2012 (Des Plaines, IL) At its February 24, 2012 meeting, the URISA Board of Directors again considered the draft Sierra Club vs. Orange County, California amicus brief. A Board motion to sign an earlier version of the brief on February 2 failed to pass a vote.
The Board’s deliberation followed a joint URISA Board and Policy Committee conference call to discuss the Board’s February 2 decision in light of the Policy’s Committee’s recommendation to sign the brief. Glenn O’Grady, Policy Committee Chair, was invited to again discuss the matter with the Board during the February 24 meeting.
Before considering the question of signing the SC v. OC amicus brief, the Board drafted and approved the following data sharing policy that reflects URISA’s role as an international organization and the need for the organization to be aware of data policies and situations in many countries:
“It is URISA’s policy that all units of government should freely provide the means for their citizens to fully participate in their own governance by publishing and otherwise supplying geospatial data to all interested parties. URISA believes that governmental geospatial programs must be appropriately funded and that there are multiple acceptable mechanisms for such funding. Credible studies have shown that the value of geospatial data to the governmental agencies and the people they serve increases with the breadth of data sharing.”
by Felicia O. Akinyemi, URISA Journal 2011, Volume 23, No 2
Abstract: Access to spatial data is of growing interest to practitioners and society for the use of geospatial technology pervades all fields, and all sectors of the economy can use the same information in different applications. Means of data access appropriate to any given context must be found. This study targeted organizations active in spatial data collection, management, dissemination, and use. It examines their willingness to cooperate in sharing spatial data in Rwanda. Key areas covered are the conditions of data access and restrictions to data usage as well as the willingness of users to pay for spatial data. A majority of the organizations give out data free to users on request, while others restrict access to data for some categories of users. Private-sector users are more willing to pay for spatial data. This study captures producers’ and users’ perspectives to spatial data access. Also, it reveals the situation of spatial data sharing in a developing-country context where explicit policies to cater to such activities are absent.
For full text of the article, click here.
by Robert Goodspeed, URISA Journal 2011, Volume 23, No 2
Abstract: Increasingly, citizens are demanding access to raw data from governments to hold public officials accountable, look up facts, conduct analysis, or create innovative applications and services. Cities and towns create data using geographic information systems such as layers describing parcels, zoning, and infrastructure that are useful for a wide range of purposes. Through a public records request to all 351 Massachusetts municipalities, this paper investigates whether these data are accessible to citizens in practice. Some response was received by 78.6 percent of the municipalities. Two municipalities refused access to all electronic records. Many others charged fees ranging up to $453 or placed legal restrictions on the data through licensing that could chill or prohibit creative reuses of the information through emerging technologies. Other practical barriers limited public access to data, such as limited resources, government officials’ limited technical knowledge, and outsourcing to private vendors. A followup survey among municipalities that did not respond to the request was conducted to determine if they had GIS systems or data policies, and this information was collected for 80.3 percent of the municipalities. Finally, the paper discusses the legal, policy, and technical steps that can be taken by governments to move from a “public records” to an “open government” paradigm for transparency of government data. The policy recommendations for municipalities include publishing GIS data for free online and with minimal legal restrictions.
For full text of the article, click here.
- Access to local GIS data (spatialityblog.com)
In an edited excerpt from his new book, Too Big to Know, David Weinberger explains how the massive amounts of data necessary to deal with complex phenomena exceed any single brain’s ability to grasp, yet networked science rolls on.
… Now there is a literally immeasurable, continuous stream of climate data from satellites circling the earth, buoys bobbing in the ocean, and Wi-Fi-enabled sensors in the rain forest. … All this data and much, much more became worth recording once we could record it, once we could process it with computers, and once we could connect the data streams and the data processors with a network. How will we ever make sense of scientific topics that are too big to know? …
For full text of the article, visit To Know, but Not Understand: David Weinberger on Science and Big Data – Atlantic Mobile.
- Media transformation – David Weinberger: facts have been replaced by networked facts (nextlevelofnews.com)
- How the Internet is Destroying Everything (bits.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Keen On… David Weinberger: Too Big To Know (TCTV) (techcrunch.com)